Hello Hop Fans!
We host one of my favorite annual events this weekend, our 10th Wet Hop Festival. We will have 29 different beers to tap over the weekend with 26-27 expected on tap Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We get a little sneak peak tonight (Thursday) with a cask of Port Brewing’s High Tide IPA at 5 pm. I’ve also got news on our San Diego Beer Week Events, our Halloween Costume Party on the 31st and our line up of pumpkin beers for next weekend including a pumpkin lambic from Belgium. Speaking of Belgium, I will be heading over there on our pub Christmas Beer Fest trip in December. You might want to get comfortable, because this pre-fest, pre-Beer Week, pre-Belgium Pub Trip email is going to be long. Read on for all of the hoppy goodness….
What are wet hop beers you ask? These are beers that are made with fresh, right off the vine hops that still have a large percentage of water weight, hence the term wet. Most hops are dried and then cold stored to keep them fresh year round. You can only get wet hops once a year at harvest time (roughly late August to early September). Because of the large water content, brewers must use 4-5 times the amount of hops in these beers which give them a unique character. It does not necessarily make the beer into an IPA, rather it adds a different dimension of hoppiness – more earthy, spicy and grassy.
We are expecting 29 different beers this year and we will be tapping 27 of them Friday night including a cask of Stone Ruination IPA with fresh Chinook hops grown in the Bistro gardens. We’ll have 9 local beers on tap including Alpine, Ballast Point, Hess, Latitude 33, Mother Earth, Port Brewing and Stumblefoot (Pizza Port decided not to sell of any its wet hop beers off site for the first time in 10 years). There will be 10 more beers from the rest of California featuring Anderson Valley, Bear Republic, The Bruery, Drakes, Hollister, Moylans and Sierra Nevada. And the final 9 beers will be from out of state, mostly from Oregon: Beer Valley, Deschutes, Full Sail, Great Divide, Logsdon and Rogue.
There will be all types of styles on tap – Pale Ale, IPA, Red Ale, Pilsner, Saison, Dark IPA, Double IPA and even Imperial Stout. We also have a lot of first time beers in the fest this year both from new local breweries and out of town breweries that we have been unable to get before. It is going to be a great weekend of unique beer drinking. So please join us on at least one of the days this weekend to sample this once a year brews. We will be offering 5, 10 and 16 oz pours of most beers, though a few that are very limited in quantity we will only be doing 5 or 10 oz pours. I expect nearly all of the beers to last through the weekend with the taps beginning to return to normal on Monday the 22nd.
We have some great treats for Halloween this year. Tyson has been collecting up pumpkin beers to put on tap Friday the 26th. The most anticipated of these is the new Timmermans Pumpkin Lambic from Belgium. Having never had the beer, I can’t tell you much about it, but Timmermans does make very fruit forward lambics so it ought to be very interesting to see what the brewery does with the subtle flavor of pumpkin. We’ll also have a Stone/Elysian/Bruery Pumpkin beer – La Citrueille Celeste de Citracado, hopefully it is easier to drink than it is to type. We’ll also have the rum barrel aged Rumpkin from Avery and Shipyard’s Smashed Pumpkin on tap. Look for a pumpkin and cranberry beer from New Belgium in the bottle as well. And as an added bonus to get you in the Halloween holiday mood, we’ll tap a keg of AleSmith Evil Dead Red.
Before the pumpkin party on the 26th, we’ll tap a cask of Karl Strauss Wreck Alley Imperial Stout on Thursday the 25th at 5 pm. Karl Strauss head brewer Paul Segura has been making great dark beers in San Diego since the 1990s and I think this is his finest effort yet. So all you dark beer fans need to come down and enjoy a pint of this delicious beer that should be sublime cask conditioned.
Our Halloween Costume Party will be on Wednesday, October 31st and will feature a full size cask of AleSmith’s Evil Dead Red to be tapped at 5 pm. All of the bartenders will be dressed up and to encourage you to do the same, anyone showing up in costume will get $1 off their first beer. We have some very creative folks at the pub and there are always a lot of great costumes. Halloween is a very fun night at the pub and Lindsey and I are looking forward to being there this year (though I am the only one of us looking forward to the cask, I think she will want something with a few more bubbles in it!).
Heading to Belgium on the GBBCBT!
I am finally going to get to one of the beer festivals that I have always wanted to go to – the Essen Kerst Bier Festival featuring 150 Belgian Christmas Beers (check out the fest at: http://www.kerstbierfestival.be/ENG/index.htm). I love Belgian Christmas beers, but only a few dozen are even imported to the USA, so I have always felt that this was a unique opportunity to sample them. In addition to great beer, I will be heading to London a few days early to catch some great soccer matches so it is a combo soccer geek/beer geek trip for me. I have never been to Bruges, so I am really looking forward to that and visiting De Garre – we have their eponymous tripel on tap now at the pub. And getting back to Westvleteren for the first time since 2008 will be great.
My friend Bill Snide of Ciao! Travel organizes the trip and all of his contact info is listed below. Bill always does a great job of making sure that there is plenty to do on the trip while leaving time to explore on your own. Our parents all went on this trip last year and I was insanely jealous. For more complete information read on or visit www.ciaotravel.com. Here is the update on trip from Bill including info on some O’Brien’s coupons:
Join Tom Nickel on The Great British & Belgian Christmas Beer Tour
December 09-17, 2012
A Transformative Experience
Today’s Beer Travelers are less about lazing around a pool than the anticipation, exploration and the realization of transformative beer experiences.
In the Draft Magazine Article “When in Rome – An Italian Beer Journey” Sam Caligione recalls The New York Times Guide to Modern Pilgrimages quote “Modern-day pilgrims may not exhibit all the fervor of their religious-minded predecessors, but they still seek transformative experiences”
The Great British and Belgian Christmas Beer Tour offers you just such travel experiences…
LONDON at Christmas time exploring a vast array of London’s new craft brewers, shop the Traditonal Christmas Markets and enjoy The Ultimate London Pub Crawl. We’ve even arranged a traditional Christmas Turkey Dinner with English Christmas Ales.
BRUGES – The Venice of the North and home to three of the best beer tasting experiences in Europe, along with Christmas Markets and World Class Chocolates. Not to mention visiting St Bernardus, Westvleteren In de Vrede café, Cantillon and de Halve Maan breweries!
ANTWERP & THE ESSEN CHRISTMAS BEER FESTIVAL, Our home away from O’Brien’s Pub is Kulminator with their huge collection of vintage beers, yet another traditional Christmas market and The Essen Kerstbierfestival with over 150 Christmas, Old Stock and Strong Ales to enjoy, many unavailable outside Belgium!
GBBCBT is The Most Spouse Friendly Beer Tour (and The Most Spouse Friendly Christmas Shopping Tour) ever!
GBBCBT gives you plenty of time for independent exploration on your own, Indeed the GBBCBT motto is Tours that are Hosted, not Herded!
Visit O’Brien’s Pub to get your free color brochure with a $300 Discount from our published prices.
Not in Town? Call Bill at (619) 297-8112 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for an emailed copy
Don’t Miss Out, There are only 08 Spaces left!
I think we have most of our information posted up for San Diego Beer Week now. Tyson is finalizing his lists for the Sour Day (11/3) and Barrel Aged Night (11/9) – he has been saving beers all year and has an embarrassment of riches from which to choose. I can tell you that we should have at least 3 Russian River sour beers for the Sour Day. And we are still waiting on final confirmation from AleSmith on our Speedway night, though the initial list sent over by the brewery listed 14 styles including some with Nutella, Peanut Butter, Pistachio, Sour Cherries and Coconut (not all in the same beer mind you).
We’ll kick off our Beer Week celebrations with Alpine Beer Company. We start a little early with a cask of Duet IPA on Thursday the 1st. Then on Friday the 2nd we’ll have New Millenium, O’Brien’s IPA, Duet, Nelson, Pure Hoppiness, Firing sQuad and a full keg of Exponential Hoppiness and quite possibly a keg of Whale. And there will be bottles of the new version of Ichabod – a Porter brewed with Pumpkin. It will be a great way to kick off your Beer Week madness.
We have our line up set for the High Societe Night on Monday the 5th – Dandy, Apprentice, Pupil, Harlot, Widow, Debutante and Butcher Imperial Stout. Our friend Mary Palmer of Taste Cheese will be doing a special pop up market on the 5th in front of the pub selling a selection of beer friendly cheeses. We’ll also have a special cheese plate to pair with some of the Societe beers. And speaking of Societe Beers, you can now sign up for our Societe Beer Dinner on Sunday the 4th. The dinner will be at 6:30 pm and the cost is $50 (cash only please) with tax and tip inclusive. Space is limited and I expect the dinner to sell out by the time Beer Week starts. And yes, there will be house cured birthday bacon at the dinner.
Kern River has confirmed its line up for Wednesday the 7th which includes our first ever CASK of JO IPA! We’ll also get draft JO IPA along with Sequoia Red, Class V Stout, Class X Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout and hopefully Citra Double IPA. The cask and kegs will tap at 5 pm and this will not be a night to show up late and hope that the Citra and cask are still around.
Our Thursday night for Beer Week has grown into 2 events – Caskading Casks and Avery Night. For casks we have Alpine O’Brien’s IPA, Ballast Point Dorado and Habanero Sculpin, Port Brewing High Tide and Green Flash/Cigar City Candela Rye Barleywine aged with Spanish Cedar all lined up with at least one more cask coming. The Rye Barleywine is supposed to pair great with cigars. We will have 3 casks tapped at 5 pm and then tap 3 fresh casks by 8 pm so that there will be amazing cask beer all night long.
We just couldn’t say no to our friends at Avery, so in addition to at least 6 amazing cask beers, we will have 10 incredible Avery beers including some very rare vintage anniversary beers. We’ll have 16, 18 and 19 anniversary beers on tap with the 15th Anniversary in the bottle. For you hop fiends we’ll have IPA, Dugana Double IPA and Double Dry Hopped Dugana Double IPA. There will also be kegs of Rumpkin and 2010 Mephistopheles Stout. In short, Thursday the 8th is not going to suck at the pub.
We will have some great food specials every day of Beer Week that will be themed – Cheesy Night, Mexican, Indian, Comfort Food, Continental and Barbecue among them. I should have the details from the kitchen by next week’s email. But trust me, it is going to be GREAT!
Breaking News – while I was sending out the email I just got word on our line up for Maui Night on the 10th. We will have Imperial Coconut Porter, Ginger Saison, Drip Dry Coffee nitro Stout, Mac Nut Brown, Red Cock Doppelbock, Pau Hana Pilsner, Wee Heavy (GABF Gold in 2012), Kula Country Pumpkin Ale, Maka Koa Strong Ale and La Petite Blanca (aged in Chardonnay barrels). We should have some great BBQ food to pair up with the Maui beers.
On the final day of Beer Week, Sunday the 11th, we will be opening up early at 10 am for breakfast burritos, champagne and mimosas – and beer of course. It will also be the day of our much anticipated Lost Abbey Tasting. We will be tasting at least 11 Tracks from the upcoming Lost Abbey Ultimate Box Set and pairing up some small plates of food over the tasting. Tomme will be there to give us the background on each beer/track as we enjoy them. Tyson and I did the hard work of tasting them with Tomme the other day to prep for the food pairings. There are some massively diverse flavors and styles in the beers which were all great. This is going to sell out fast, so if you want to go, do not delay in signing up. Cost is going to be $90 (cash only) and the sign up sheet is out now at the pub. We will be taking a waiting list as well as I am waiting to see how many folks will be coming from the brewery, so we almost certainly be letting in a good number of folks from the waiting list. If you are out of town, please email me about coming.
The San Diego Brewers Guild Festival will be Saturday the 3rd from 2-5 pm with a VIP admission that lets in at 1 pm. The fest will be at the Port Pavilion on the Broadway Pier downtown. This is a new venue that should be a beautiful backdrop to all of that wonderful beer. The Guild will also be co-hosting the Beer Garden at the Torrey Pines Lodge on Sunday the 11th from Noon to 3 pm. The Beer Garden is an amazing food and beer event featuring 10 local chefs and 20 local breweries. For more information on these and all SDBW events visit www.sdbw.org. You can search the events by location – just select East County and you can see all of the Beer Week events that we are doing over at West Coast Barbecue & Brew in La Mesa.
Almost The End!
Thanks for making it through this email. There was just a lot of information to get out. We are starting our planning for our Movember fundraising in memory of John Brady. If you are interested in joining us for Movember, please let me know. Complete information on Movember can be found at: http://us.movember.com. As part of the fundraising effort, we will be auctioning off several complete sets of Stone Vertical Epic 2002-2011. I will let you know when we have them up for sale (probably after Beer Week). I want to extend anniversary congratulations to Live Wire (20) and Hamiltons (6) both of which are celebrating this weekend. That really is it now, we’ll see you soon for a great wet hopped beer. Cheers, Tom